Apple iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Which is this Year’s Must Have?
Image Credit: Apple, Samsung

With the Christmas season now upon us and the question of which smartphone to get re-opened, the International Business Times UK's dynamic tech duo take the time to sum up the strengths and weaknesses of this year's top-contenders, the Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S.


With Apple's new iPhone powered by the company's iOS 5 operating system and the Galaxy Nexus Google's frosty new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, both devices come loaded with the latest software on the market.

The question of which one is better is really a case of apples and oranges, with it largely depending on which ecosystem you're used to. That said there are a few defining features that separate the two.

In Ice Cream Sandwich two of the OS' coolest features are Face Unlock and Beam.

The new Android Beam feature uses NFC technology to let users send data to other Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones simply by placing the two devices back-to-back. Beam lets users send everything from photos and contacts to web-pages and YouTube videos.

Face Unlock, while not always reliable, is also pretty cool, letting you unlock your phone simply by looking at the Galaxy Nexus' front facing camera.

On the Apple front, despite hosting over 200 new features, Siri is without a doubt iOS 5's biggest addition. The feature allows users to instruct their iPhone to perform a variety of tasks including arranging appointments, sending messages and browsing the internet, using voice commands.


While the Galaxy Nexus does look amazing, Apple's iPhone 4S does feel significantly more expensive.

The division mainly stems from the fact that the Galaxy Nexus is a plastic rather than metal affair. The resultant effect is that it doesn't feel as "high-end" as the 4S. That said, despite its whopping 4.65-inch screen, it's insanely light, weighing in a piddly 135g.

Also, though Samsung's choice to use plastic does make the device feel cheaper than it really is, the Galaxy Nexus is still an aesthetically pleasing phone -- debatably more so than the 4S which has the same external design as the its predecessor, the iPhone 4.

The new Nexus houses the same curved shape as its predecessor and adding an extra air of class, doesn't have front facing buttons -- capacitive or otherwise. Outside of the power lock and volume keys on its side, the Galaxy Nexus is a button free device, with all the user commands generally coming from on-screen inputs.

The buttonless curved design makes the new Nexus one of the most visually unique smartphones on the market.


Unfortunately judging which device has better spec is difficult, thanks in no small part to the fact that Apple doesn't release all the technical details of its products.

What is known is the the new iPhone packs a dual-core A5 chip and improved 8-megapixel camera and boasts 512MB RAM.

Fortunately Samsung has been more forthcoming with the Galxy Nexus' details. The device houses a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and impressive 1280 x 720, 4.65 inch Super AMOLED screen, running at a native 720p resolution. The camera is also fairly impressive, with the new Nexus packing a 5-megapixel HD snapper capable of recording crisp 1080p HD videos.

The Winner?

Judging which device is better is difficult and largely dependent on which operating system the user is familiar with, or finds more intuitive.

Tech spec, while important is pretty irrelevant, given that both devices are pretty high-end and more than capable of enacting whatever task they're given.

Outside if this, with the only other factor being the devices' looks, again the decision about which is better is a subjective one. While the iPhone feels more expensive, it is less visually striking the curved Galaxy Nexus.

In short, gun to our head, when asked which device wins the 2011 battle for smartphone supremacy, we'd have to say its a tie.